AI and Big Data could introduce fresh cyber security challenges: Europol

AI and Big Data are the new buzzwords not only in the data protection community but also in the wider society and their rise should be matched by a new dialogue between stakeholders on related cyber security and data protection challenges, Europol's executive director has said.

In January, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai batted for greater regulations around the use of artificial intelligence and technologies that leveraged the concept, stating that new technologies like facial recognition and deepfakes are a major concern for society and need to be regulated.

However, regulations around the use of AI should not stifle innovation as artificial intelligence will provide the answers to many existing global challenges in the future, he added. Therefore, governments should avoid an aggressive approach.

On Data Protection Day, Catherine De Bolle, the executive director of Europol, wrote in a blog that AI and Big Data are the new buzzwords not only in the data protection community but also in the wider society and their rise should be matched by a new dialogue between stakeholders on related cyber security and data protection challenges.

Rise of AI and Big Data needs new dialogue on emerging cyber security challenges

"The rise of Artificial Intelligence technologies and Big Data require a new dialogue and awareness of the related cybersecurity as well as data protection challenges. In order to address these challenges, cooperation across different stakeholders is key, as law enforcement needs to be prepared to combat the criminal abuse of such technologies," she wrote.

De Bolle added that the best ways to address cyber security challenges posed by the rise of AI and Big Data are increasing the synergies between individual privacy and public security and fostering innovation in implementing privacy by design.

"For the future, one of the main challenges will be to align security and privacy demands in the design of all data processing operations. In this regard, Europol will continue its work by reinforcing meaningful and effective safeguards for individuals affected by personal data processing, while promoting de-bureaucratised and efficient processes.

"Our task in law enforcement is to catch bad guys with the help of data but we want to do it the right way and keep the trust of the European citizens that we are doing it in full compliance with fundamental rights – and this is [the] way we, at Europol, are celebrating Data Protection Day," she added.

AI solutions will tremendously boost cyber security in the future

In a guest blog published by TEISS last year, Tyler Reese, product manager for One Identity, wrote that even though the rise of AI can pose cyber security challenges in the future, artificial intelligence solutions will have the potential to be invaluable to the cyber security world as they possess self-adaptive capabilities and require little customisation and maintenance.

"AI ​​is certainly a weapon that will occupy a very important place in the cyber security defence arsenal. Limiting access, generating detailed audit logs, and strengthening surveillance are just a few examples of AI-based applications that are already being quickly adopted among enterprise IT security teams. And while AI will certainly help reduce risks of both internal and external threats, human operations will always have a place in effective IT security.

"The objective of AI technology is not to replace human beings, but to allow them to devote their resources to more important activities. The best AI tools relieve us of tedious subordinate tasks and help solve more pressing problems. Of course, businesses must keep in mind that AI is a means and not an end; organisations must define objectives and choose the tools best suited to achieve them.

"Using AI to free employees to accomplish other tasks is a game-changing benefit of this technology and to an enterprise as a whole. Additionally, AI-driven behavioural analysis, can be used to recognise changes in work habits and to inform the security teams of threats in real time," Reese added.

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